DUTY OF CARE: What price staying in control?
11 June 2008
ESC, ESP, DSC - whatever you choose to call anti-skid technology, it's a potentially life-saving safety device business car drivers are not optioning. Tom Webster examines the reasons behind it
One of, if not the most significant safety benefits in the past 20 years" is how the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders describes electronic stability control (ESC) technology.
It's a statement with which the European Commission obviously agrees because if it gets its way with a proposal ESC will be mandatory from 2012.
"We are simplifying legislation, we are improving road safety," says Gunter Verheugen, vice president of the commission.
If that's the view of two influential organisations, then why is it that whereas some manufacturers offer ESC as standard, it remains a largely ignored cost option on many cars while some don't even offer it as an option?
"Less than 10% of new car buyers are selecting ESC as a factory-fitted option if it's not offered as standard equipment," says David Fulker, head of marketing at Bosch, which develops the systems for manufacturers.
Julie Jenner, president of Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO), blames drivers for not pushing fleets or manufacturers to fit ESC, and with the installation of the system costing an average of £390, it is easy to see why. And, besides, why should they pay for an added feature they can't see or touch?
"What's important [to drivers] is satnav or a six-CD auto-changer. Drivers are never going to pay for safety features, and quite rightly so," she says.
But could the potential savings for a fleet outweigh the initial cost?
The indication from residual value experts is that there will be no noticeable monetary benefit for ordering the technology as an option.
"There would be a negligible difference in price between a used car with ESC and one without," says Jeff Paterson of Glass's.
He continued: "Most new or used car buyers are reluctant to pay any sort of premium for safety features. Car owners like to be able to point out the extras on their car, and are prepared to pay for visual enhancements such as alloy wheels, metallic paint or leather trim."
However, while the addition of the technology appears to have...
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